Another busy week of political upheaval, international violence, an inquest report, and sporting breath-holding…. uncertainty and frailty on a multitude of levels. As others have recently said, our best response in unpredictable (and predictable) times is to look upwards to the one who made us and sustains us.
As I have watched the political parties this week I have found myself longing for leaders defined by both humility and integrity. Yes, in Westminster, but in every village and organisation too.
At the political level, obviously, I value and cherish our heritage of democracy. But I am not convinced that the way it is exercised in many quarters is working. When politicians take a position and then do anything they can in order to blindly protect that position, they risk diverting all of us from the truth and they display an arrogance that allows no space for wisdom. Humility on the other hand, listens to and respects other voices, admits frailty and sees the good in others. John Dickson describes it as ‘holding power in the service of others.’ He points to the example of Jesus who ‘came not to be served, but to serve’, and he goes on to say that for a leader ‘perhaps the most obvious outcome of being humble is that you will learn, grow and thrive in a way the proud have no hope of doing.’
So, I hope and pray for leaders who do not thrust themselves forward in self-promotional arrogance, leaders who offer themselves in the service of others, and leaders who are ready to listen and learn. And I hope and pray that I, too, may be a leader like that.
By the Revd Chris Maclay, Forest Area Dean and Vicar of Bream.